Sleep Talk | Gotta Sleep Blog

Sleep and Caffeine: How Your Favourite Drink is Affecting Your Sleep

Author: Shihab Howlader

Sleep and Caffeine are an epidemic, and it all starts when you wake up at 6:00 am and have a cup of coffee to start your day.

Half way through your shift, you feel a bit sluggish so you have another. It’s the end of your shift, and you just need a little boost to get home and do the dishes, so you grab a cup on your way home. 10:00 pm, time for bed. 11:00 pm, can’t sleep. Midnight, you start counting how many hours of sleep you can get if you fall asleep right now! No luck. You don’t know when you fell asleep, but it’s 6:00 am again and you need a cup of coffee to get your day started.

Coffee is the most consumed beverage in Canada. It’s even more popular than tap water. The average Canadian coffee drinker consumes about three cups a day which is much higher than most parts of the world. Coffee is an easy and fast way to get an energy boost, but it’s not always the best option.  Research suggests that cutting coffee out of your diet is the best way to improve your health and the quality of your sleep.

This blog will review the benefits and cons of drinking coffee and provide 4 great alternatives to help you get caffeine out of your system.

Positives of Drinking Coffee

If coffee is the culprit for turning you into a zombie every morning, why do people drink so much of it? Well, Caffeine, no matter how you get your fix, is an effective stimulant. These kinds of drugs make you more alert and more energetic. Caffeine is most effective when taken occasionally. The more often you consume caffeine, the less effective it becomes.

A cup of coffee to keep you up while you finish writing an article about the effects of Caffeine on sleep is okay, but if you’re drinking a cup every day to read scholarly articles on the consumption of coffee, you may need to re-evaluate… a lot of things.

Negatives of drinking Coffee

Caffeine has a number of effects on the body, one of which is preventing you from getting tired. It does this by blocking Adenosine receptors in your brain. Adenosine is a hormone that increases in concentration the longer you are awake. By blocking the Adenosine receptors, caffeine delays your need to sleep. As caffeine leaves your body, your Adenosine receptors are reactivated.  The crash you experience is due to the Adenosine which has built up in your body.

Drinking too much coffee regularly often leads to insomnia, which then increases a dependency on caffeine. Drinking too much coffee or taking caffeine powder, which is increasingly popularity among teens and young adults, can lead to problems other than sleep deprivation. These negative symptoms of regular caffeine consumption include:

  • Increased heart rate and breathing rate
  • Diarrhea
  • Shaking/twitching/uncontrolled muscle movement
  • Nausea
  • Nervousness/ Anxiety

Caffeine withdrawal is another downside which can cause headaches, general dysphoria, and flu-like symptoms. All of these symptoms can be avoided with controlled and safe consumption of coffee, and there are plenty of alternative and healthy methods to boost your productivity without a cup of joe every morning.

Alternatives to Get You Through the Day

Exercise

You don’t have to go get a gym membership to get enough exercise. Walking a few blocks or some light morning calisthenics is enough to wake the body up and get your blood flowing. Exercise releases hormones called epinephrine and norepinephrine, also called adrenaline. Adrenaline has similar effects to caffeine, in that it wakes you up and makes your more alert, all without the negative side effects of caffeine.

Breakfast

So, you did your morning aerobics and you need some energy. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but without your coffee mug beside your pancakes, the table looks too empty. Replace that mug with a protein shake. Having more protein for breakfast ensures that you have a long-lasting energy supply for those long-lasting shifts at work. Including healthy fats into your diet can also help keep you energized throughout the day. These fats can come from meat, cheese, avocados, and eggs among other foods.

Vegetables

Green leafy vegetables like kale and spinach are an essential part of a healthy diet. Green vegetables are high in vitamins A, C, E and K as well as minerals such as Iron, Magnesium, Calcium and Potassium. These vitamins and minerals are used by the body for a variety of purposes, including the production of energy and the maintenance of the body’s systems for using that energy.

Rest

The best way to combat sleepiness is to sleep. Sounds like common sense, doesn’t it? Getting the recommended amount of sleep every night and getting enough restful sleep (i.e. REM and NREM sleep) are very important in living a healthy caffeine free lifestyle. When you sleep the right amount every night, your body is able to act more efficiently.  Sleep allows you to take the energy you gain from exercise and diet, and use it effectively throughout the day.

If you have trouble falling asleep, GottaSleep has you covered. Check out our blog post about how to sleep better naturally.

Summary

Coffee is the most popular drink in Canada, and it can impact your sleep.

It helps people stay alert throughout the day, but is not safe for long periods of time. Caffeine can be dangerous and costly to rely on, especially for teens and young adults. There are plenty of ways to stay active and healthy without drinking coffee or taking caffeine pills. A good diet, an active routine, and a good night’s rest on the are all parts of a healthy lifestyle that promotes a productive day with little to no caffeine.